9/03/2016

Dealing with Cancer.


I have cancer. Don’t know where else, but at least in some lymph nodes in my neck. As they say, “the news is not good.” I found out yesterday afternoon.  Kathryn is with me and her presence is wonderfully calming.  I wish there were ways to write each of you personally, but there it is.

I’ll know more than I ever wanted to later, but for now it is enough to say that much of my attention turns to the unwelcome visitor and days ahead that are even less in my control than usual.  I’m a bit in reactive mode just now, but God willing will turn more proactive as possibilities for treatment emerge.

Cancer is not another name for death, but I am aware that cancer often deadens the life force. So my most proactive work right now is (i)  to pay attention to the work Kathryn and family and I,  and lots of health care people, have to do dealing with the cancer(s) and (ii) to pay attention to living creatively and with imagination. 

It also means that in this next period I will need to focus on these things and not others. So I will be resigning from a variety of civic and religious committees and stepping back a bit from the busyness of life.  But conversely I will hopefully step forward with at least some grace into those dangerous areas where body and spirit are tested.

So, I’m dealing. Kathryn’s dealing.

What I need from friends is your dealing too.  We will no doubt need help dealing with life not in control. I know I will need friendship and love. I will mostly need compassion.

What I don’t need is too many questions, too many assumptions, too many solutions. Dealing is not rescue. Dealing is not avoiding death (which is really bad theology.)  Dealing is a sacred walk. It is an example of the journey being the destination, which is about God NOW.

So…pray with me for a good walk, perhaps walking away from the unwelcome visitor, perhaps walking with it, but a good walk none the less, in which holiness and loving kindness is present. I’ll pray for you too. After all, we’re all dealing.

44 comments:

  1. I pray for the "good walk" Amen, Len

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  2. Love and prayers as you and Kathryn walk the path with your unwelcome visitor. God be with you.

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  3. Mark, I will certainly add you to the list of those whom I hold daily in my prayers as I continue to walk the Camimo. As you begin your own new "walk" I to the unknown that lies ahead, I offer you what those whom I encounter several times daily offer me: Buen Camimo.

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  4. Blessings and prayers, my friend.

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  5. prayers that your walking be holy and extraordinary

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  6. I've been on this walk with several people. You're not alone even though it may feel that way sometimes. Just remember the Father is walking with you. Blessings and peace be with you.

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  7. Prayers for your walk, and prayers for Kathryn as she does this work with you and with your doctors. May God send you both abundant grace, joyful moments, and that peace which surpasses all understanding. Blessings - Joan Testin

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  8. I am grateful for fellowship with you and Kathryn. I walk with you both in God's love.

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  9. Prayers for your walk in an unexpected direction. You have strong support from family and those who know and love you. You have God in your corner. And, I'm pretty sure, you have the grace to care for yourself and ask for support when you need it. It can be a very deep (and surprisingly spiritual) trip. Blessings to you and yours.

    Linda Ryan

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  10. Thoughts and prayers

    Bosco

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  11. I am praying for a good walk too

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  12. Sending my best wishes now, remembering some encounters within the Anglican sphere and following your worthwhile commentaries. Adrian.

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  13. Mark, sorry to hear this, it seems to becoming more of a regular conversation than any of us would choose. I know you are a man of faith, but I know you are a creative individual as well, I have a book I would like to share with you that has a great deal of current information on dealing with cancer in alternative but very natural ways.

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  14. praying for you and Kathryn, today and tomorrow and each day after

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  15. Prayers for good treatment and therapy, and skill to your caregivers....
    tobias

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  16. Mark, I am sorry to hear this news but glad you are approaching it with hope and determination. You'll be in my prayers.

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  17. Dear Mark, You continually move me with your wisdom. Bob Dylan wrote a tune: "I'll be with you when the deal goes down". I remember those good and fun times at ETS with you and Bill Wood. You are a dear and loving child of God. Blessings to you and Kathryn and all your family and close friends. Bob Stuhlmann




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  18. Praying for a good walk for you! My husband has been on his for 3 years. It's hard.

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  19. I love you. Always have. Always will.

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  20. Our love and prayers for both of you on this walk. Bob and Delores Wardwell

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  21. Cn. Shirley M. Watts3/9/16 9:25 PM

    Mark, I hold you and Kathryn in prayer as you begin this sacred journey. May God Bless you with the "good walk" and give you the gifts that He knows you need.

    ~ Your Friend In Christ, Shirley

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  22. Robin Sumners3/9/16 10:43 PM

    Charlie and I will pray for you, as will our whole congregation. May you flourish.
    Love
    Robin

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  23. Oh, Mark... all I can say is that I love you. Of course I will pray for you. For right now, that is all I need to say, no?

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  24. Prayers and love, love and prayers, dear Mark. You've been walking faithfully beside all of us who follow your blog. I hope you will now sense our steps beside you, in solidarity, as we each put one foot in front of the other on our journey, which is always a journey home.

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  25. Our prayers will accompany your walk. God bless

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  26. Thoughts and prayers across the miles as you begin this journey, dear friend and colleague. And thank you for such honest sharing with us. You are a gift to me and many. Aloha - Brian Grieves

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  27. My only interaction with you, Mark, has been as a faithful reader of this blog (and other internet venues). What I know from that is that you have accompanied so many on walks where the path was not known, the destination unclear. Now we companion you and Kathryn in prayer, on just such a walk. We are near.

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  28. You were so supportive of us way back in the 70s. We will always be grateful to you and Kathryn for that. Our prayers are with you both.

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  29. Br Maurice Grove BSG4/9/16 9:59 PM

    You are in my thoughts and prayers of course. Having been there and gone through that I am very familiar with the trepidations. Much love Br Maurice BSG

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  30. John Sandeman5/9/16 3:09 AM

    My prayers from down under

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  31. We're all with you, I hope you know that.

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  32. Dear Mark and Kathryn,

    I join my prayers with those of your friends as we create a great circle of love and compassion around you.

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  33. Bob McCloskey5/9/16 5:39 PM

    Dear Mark,

    By coincidence [perhaps] I have authored this month's Vintage Voice of the Church Pension Group. We have only been together on a couple of occasions in the journey, but I have always welcomed your commentaries and periodically have responded to them.

    Bottom line: you are handling this exactly the right way - family first and foremost, friends and church acquaintances second. My 6 month prognosis July 2015 has evolved into a 14 month journey since thus far, and I am both blessed and grateful that I have been shown how to reshape retirement ministry into the benefit of others and myself, especially our clergy colleagues namely, modeling what we believe in the flesh.

    It has been a blessing for me to be ministered to by my oncology specialists, who find my situation quite inexplicable. I am terminal and inoperable but my most recent diagnostics in August reveal that the expected increased pace of my tumor [metastatic liver which has invaded the lungs and threatens the heart]has dramatically dropped from 200+ - not unexpected, having been 20 at the diagnosis - to 19 this past month.

    You are and will find the special power of prayer and support during this time - from friends, former parishioners and folk of many traditions.

    Blessings on your new challenges and redirecting of ministry.

    Bob McCloskey

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  34. Prayers, Estimable Colleague. From one who has watched and waited with more than my share: prayers and blessings.

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  35. Dear Mark,

    I join my voice to pray with all your friends for you on this walk. May you be sustained by the knowledge that you are loved much, by many!

    Lou Poulain

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  36. Anna Hawley6/9/16 3:54 PM

    Dear Mark,
    I am putting you and Kathryn on my prayer list. When I was diagnosed, a friend said welcome to the club no one wants to join. Your writings and the sermons I was priv1leged to hear you deliver at St Thomas's in Newark years ago have meant a lot to me. Thank you.
    Anna Hawley

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  37. Prayers ascending from the High Sierra! (on vacation, late to this)

    We're with you, Mark. Stay strong---

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  38. We pray for your healing, Kathryn's and your strength, and the comfort of knowing that God loves us all the time.

    Your friends,
    Elinor, Peter, Elinor and Steven

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  39. Please, Mark, let us know - as you are able - how things are going. I know I'm not a nice person, nor a close friend, but I am concerned.

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  40. Holding you in prayer, Mark. Let us know how LIFE (and not just the friggin' cancer) is going, if you can. Shalom/Namaste/Inshallah/In Jesus' Name...

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  41. God bless and keep you Fr Mark, and through the grace of His Holy Spirit grant you healing, wise medical help, constant awareness of His presence and support for you and your family always in accordance with His Will, in Jesus' name. Amen.

    Peter [aka Pageantmaster]

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  42. Hi Mark, I haven't commented on blogs for a while, but please know that you and your family are in my prayers.

    Some day we'll really know why our bodies can turn on us this way. Until the - blessings on all who are trying to solve the mystery.

    God be with you.

    Lynn

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